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Could You Be Arrested Even After Your City Decriminalized Marijuana?

Could You Be Arrested

Have you considered using marijuana since your city decriminalized it?

What happens if you get caught? Could you still be arrested or even thrown in jail?

The country is changing. When it comes to marijuana, that statement has never been truer. Even in Michigan, we are seeing cities “decriminalize” marijuana, but what does that even mean? If you were to use pot in a city that has voted to “decriminalize” it, could you still face legal consequences?

Today, we are looking to answer those questions.

One Teen Faces Life in Prison for Hash Brownies

One teen is finding out the answers to those questions right now. His name is Jacob Lavoro and he is a 19 year old living in Round Rock, Texas. The teen was caught selling hash brownies. Because he chose to use hash oil instead of marijuana, when the state weighed the brownies they were able to charge him with a first degree penalty.

The teen is now facing 5 years to life in prison. Below is a quote by his father reported by the Huffington Post,

Five years to life? I’m sorry, I’m a law abiding citizen. I’m a conservative. I love my country. I’m a Vietnam veteran, but I’ll be damned … this is wrong, this is damn wrong!” he told KEYE-TV. “If [Jacob] did something wrong he should be punished, but to the extent that makes sense. This is illogical. I’m really upset, and I’m frightened, I’m frightened for my son.”

Study Confirms In a “Decriminalized” City, 93% of Violators Were Arrested

According to a study released by the Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy, during the first year in which the city of Chicago decriminalized marijuana, only 7% were ticketed. The other 93% were arrested. This meant reducing the misdemeanor charge to a ticket. Here is what the Huffington Post reported on what Chicago Police Department spokesperson, Adam Collins, had to say about the implementation of decriminalizing marijuana:

Like any new process, it has taken time to implement the ordinance, and we believe there’s certainly much more work to be done on full implementation.”

Could Something Like This Happen in Michigan?

Residents all over Michigan have voted to decriminalize marijuana. Nine cities have already made the vote and there are a possible six more gathering signatures to decriminalize marijuana at this time.

Decriminalizing marijuana in most Michigan cities means reducing the charges to a ticket like in Ann Arbor, or like in Ypsilanti where a proposal was passed that makes consumption of up to one ounce of marijuana placed on the lowest priority for law enforcement.

BUT, there are cities like Flint. Even though the residents of Flint voted to decriminalize the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, law enforcement plans to continue to see marijuana as an illegal drug and will continue to enforce their practices.

Detroit’s Police Chief has said he will continue to make marijuana-related arrests even after the vote that passed decriminalizing marijuana for adults over the age of 21 in possession of less than one ounce as reported in the Detroit Free Press.

The Truth

Even while marijuana is being decriminalized all over the country and all over the state of Michigan, the truth is that it remains illegal under federal law. For Michigan residents the possession and consumption of marijuana remains illegal under state law.

If you chose to use marijuana, were caught and arrested, make sure you equip yourself with an experienced criminal defense attorney. The country is changing its outlook on marijuana, but things have not totally changed yet. Only you can decide which side of the issue you are on. If you have to face charges, you don’t have to face it alone. Please call my office.

248-348-7400 or 586-530-1000

This article was published on: May 21, 2014 and was last modified April 19, 2016